Why do friends change when they make new friends?

by Pooja Mukherjee
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Losing a friend is tough. We simply lose touch with our close friends at times for no apparent reason. They come in our life as a breath of fresh air, but they leave with a hole in your life that gets filled up with a new close friend eventually. 

We must remember that every person we meet is there to accompany us in a specific phase of our life, be it our childhood, our college days, our 20s and 30s, or simply the mom-years. This primarily happens because of a simple reason. 

We grow up. 

Our thoughts, beliefs, and purpose in life change over the years and we are never the same people we were five years earlier. With a change in outlook and priorities in life, we slowly drift apart from our connections because we are busy learning new things and making memories with new people. And that’s not a bad thing.

“To make a friend you must close one eye. And to keep a friend, you must close both eyes. “ – Victor Robert Lee

Research says that the human brain has a limited capacity to maintain data and is thus unable to maintain too many emotionally close relationships. We are only successful in keeping a close bond with only a finite number of people, and new friendships emerge while replacing a few old ones. And this certainly does not happen because maybe you got boring. 

The reason is a change of ideals that do not match with your friend anymore. Moving on as nothing happened and reminiscing about the old days is the only viable option left, it seems.

Why do friends change when they get new friends?

Shared history is one part of what makes a close friendship, which stands the test of time. The other reason which makes for a strong foundation of friendship is a connection. In true friendships, the bond needs to be more than friendship. 

Friends who know our flaws and guide us through our obstacles in life, even when some harsh words are necessary for us to come to a realization, these friends will always be with you for facing the harsh realities and happy moments of life.

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A major reason why people leave old friends when they get new ones is the prospect of achieving something better. Old friends can turn out to be irritating at times, showing their demanding or selfish selves, which can make people give their friendships a second thought. This problematic aspect has its roots in not wanting to change the situation with your friend wanting to experience something new and get out of this close-knit circle.  

The reason our old friends leave us can be several, but the underlying cause remains the same. Old friendships slowly fizzle out like love relationships when they lose the spark, when you gradually realize that the opinions do not match anymore, when your friend makes decisions which you condemn, and they are not the same person whom you started the friendship with.

How do you know when a friendship is over?

A dying flame cannot be reignited no matter what. With a considerable amount of gap between conversations and after losing touch with your friend over a long period of time, it is futile to initiate the conversation to get the old days back. You have to understand that friends change when they get new friends. 

According to Psychology Today, friends who actually had good intentions in mind from the beginning of the friendship will eventually never lose touch. Drifting away should be avoided if one wants to make valuable friendships and connections, which work towards bringing the best out of people by influencing them positively.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does your friend like to spend time with a separate group of people you don’t know about?

2. Do you and your friend have different interests?

3. Do you have no idea what’s going on in your friend’s life?

4. Do the plans get canceled at the last moment? And honestly, does it affect you that much?

If you come up with definitive answers to these questions, then you should have a clear idea of where your friendship stands. Remember, the loss of a friend doesn’t hurt that much as the expectations do. It’s all how you see the bigger picture and come in terms with the situation.

Walk away from one-sided friendships.

We often give more than what is expected of us. In one-sided friendships, it is already too late when we realize that all our efforts and expectations were futile for the person in front of us. The amount of affection your friend felt for you is minute in front of how affectionate you felt in the friendship. 

If your friend starts ghosting you, is always busy, or if they are giving you short answers to just make a boring conversation, such friendships are not worth your effort and time. If they cancel plans at the last minute, and if you are the one who is always reaching out, then it’s time to find a new friend.

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The wise thing to do would be walking away from such friendships, as they are not worth your time; they would leave one day or the other, and you can’t be the only one worrying about the friendship. You can only feel lucky that it happened when it did, and it would have hurt more if it happened at a later stage in your life. 

True friendships are hard to find. But we often forget that it is a give and take situation. To get affection and value in return, we must look into giving our best to prove ourselves as worthy friends. Real friends never lose touch because they value you as a person, and being there for each other is what matters always. 

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